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Land Bank to replace Spitzer Building roof, commission feasibility study for redevelopment

The Lucas County Land Bank is commissioning a feasibility study of the historic downtown Spitzer and Nicholas buildings to see if and how they can be redeveloped.

The land bank’s board at a special meeting on Wednesday authorized a payment of up to $100,000 to Cleveland-based Sandvick Architects to conduct the assessment. David Mann, the land bank’s president and chief executive officer, told board members the company plans to work with local groups Barber & Hoffman, Rudolph Libbe, and RubinBrown to help with the structural and market analysis.

He expects the work will be done in about six months and a report will be issued regarding the buildings’ physical structures and how they could possibly be reused. He believes the assessment will specifically address whether the buildings could be converted to residential units.

“One of the things I think we’re all going to learn is how viable it is to redevelop them. If there is a viable path, then we’ll be seeking developers to put together something to actually redevelop them,” Mr. Mann said.

The Nicholas Building is sometimes called Fifth Third Center, and it houses the Nicholas Building, the Annex Building, and the Hulches Building. The land bank took ownership of the blighted Nicholas, Spitzer, and Port Lawrence buildings in August, 2020 after their previous owner, Ergur Private Equity Group, left more than $450,000 in debts and nearly $90,000 in property taxes associated with the properties unpaid.

The company, run by Koray Ergur, acquired the buildings in 2008, 2009, and 2015, respectively. Each has been in various states of vacancy, disrepair, and without utilities since.

They’re considered anchors of downtown Toledo’s “Four Corners,” the intersection of Madison Avenue and Huron Street, and the land bank, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and the downtown development corporation ConnecToledo officials view that as a key spot in Toledo’s continued revitalization.

“At a relatively small cost for us, we can provide developers a lot of information that they can then use to make the best possible proposals,” Mr. Mann said. “All of us want to see this succeed.”

The $100,000 will be covered by the city of Toledo. Toledo City Council authorized the outlay last year.

The land bank board also approved a $865,000 contract with United Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc. on Wednesday to replace the Spitzer Building’s deteriorated roof with one that’s energy-efficient.

When the land bank took ownership last year and went inside to assess the property, Mr. Mann said, it became clear the building’s multiple roof levels and skylights had been leaking for years. Over time, it has caused significant water damage throughout.

“There is ongoing water damage running through the floors, damaging ceilings and floors, and that needs to be arrested quickly just to preserve the structural stability of this building so that it can be redeveloped,” he said.

Mr. Mann told the board it was important to lock in the pricing now, as building material costs are predicted to increase 20 to 25 percent. He noted the contractor uses union workers and will enter into a project-labor agreement as part of the contract.

The land bank will finance the roof project up front but will seek reimbursement either from grant funding or from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s Better Buildings Program, which offers financing for energy improvements.

Board Chairman Lindsay Webb said the roof replacement will keep the community asset stable while the feasibility study takes place and officials weigh what the building’s best use might be going forward.

“We can continue to be strategic and thoughtful, and any developer who is going to step up to this is going to want the roof dealt with,” she said.


Posted By: Toledo Blade on May 12, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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